Yalies will soon be forced to look beyond the Broadway shopping district to buy alcohol, as the University has refused to renew the popular Broadway Liquor’s lease, forcing the store to relocate.
Yale University Properties — the office that manages Yale’s portfolio of residential and commercial properties — acquired Broadway Liquor’s current space in November and decided that month not to allow the store to renew its lease with its previous landlord, which is set to expire later this year, UP director Abigail Rider said in an email to the News.
“We will not be seeking a liquor store tenant for that location as we do not feel that liquor stores are the best use of UP’s locations near campus,” Rider said.
The property in question is abutted on three sides by Yale-owned parcels and it was the only space in the block adjacent to Payne Whitney Gymansium not owned by the University before November. Rider said that it was a logical step for the University to purchase the property when its former owner put it up for sale. She added that the property will undergo significant repairs before Yale seeks a new tenant to move in.
The liquor store is currently seeking a new storefront location to reestablish the business.
Property acquisition followed by selective tenant decisions is not a new occurrence for Yale. UP is known to have specific selection criteria when attracting new retailers to occupy Yale-owned storefronts, and the office is tight-lipped about which prospective tenants they are negotiating with.
“To me [UP’s selectivity] is a mystery,” Bill Kalogeridis, the former owner of Copper Kitchen on Chapel Street, told the News in Feburary 2010, eight months before his Chapel Street restaurant was not allowed to renew its lease with the University.
According to its website, University Properties has over 500 residential properties in its portfolio and over 85 retail tenants. Yale is one of the largest commercial property taxpayers in New Haven, paying over $4 million annually.
Student reaction to the news of Broadway Liquor’s relocation was mixed. Of nine students interviewed, six said that buying liquor would become more inconvenient for them without a retailer in the Broadway area.
Students also expressed diverse opinions regarding the amount of influence Yale has in downtown’s New Haven retail development.
“I think Yale has a done a nice job targeting tenants to fill the retail spaces along Broadway, and I’m guessing they’ll do fine with this space, too,” Derek Walker ’12 said. “It’s Yale’s property, so I’m fine with them doing what they want with it.”
Other students said they took issue with a percieved lack of input that non-Yale-affiliated city residents have on the development of their city. Eric Caine ’14 said that permanent residents of New Haven should be represented in the decision-making process, as they “have more [of a] stake in the city” than Yale administrators.
Elm Campus Partners, Yale’s real estate management arm, is working with the University on its plans to renovate the Dixwell property. Rider said Yale wants to have a modernized space in which a retailer or retailers can operate so that the streetscape will not “go dark.”
University Properties was established in 1996 as an extention of the University’s Office of New Haven and State Affairs.